MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia knocked off No. 11 Iowa State 76-71 in a foul-filled matchup. There were 49 fouls called combined between both teams.
West Virginia (15-9, 4-7 Big 12) wins their fifth contest out of their last seven games.
The officiating crew, that consisted of Roger Ayers, James Breeding and Byron Jarrett, wasn’t holding back any calls between both WVU and Iowa State (16-7, 7-4 Big 12).
ISU’s Osun Osunniyi, Rob Jones and Tamin Lipsey fouled out for the Cyclones while Erik Stevenson fouled out for the Mountaineers. The game never got in a consistent pace.
Cyclones had an opportunity at the end of the game to regain the lead but a missed transition layup by Caleb Grill help send WVU back to the free throw line.
WVU G Joe Toussaint helped close the game by hitting a pair of free throws and drawing a charge with seconds remaining.
WVU has needed a big game from Emmitt Matthews and the fifth-year senior answered the call. Matthews had a season-high of 20 points.
Matthews connected on a crucial and-one opportunity mid-way through the second half.
WVU G Kedrian Johnson joined Matthews with a great performance. Johnson finished with a season high of his own with 22 points. The 6-foot-3 guard also had six assists.
Stevenson has been on a roll in the last couple of weeks. In his last four games, Stevenson is averaging 24.5 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.5 assists on 46 percent shooting from the field and 44 percent from three. Stevenson has led West Virginia to a 3-1 record in those four games and back into the tournament hunt.
Stevenson was helped to the locker room towards the end of the first half after getting hit in the head by Iowa State’s Gabe Kalscheur. Stevenson returned to the bench before the end of the first half.
Stevenson fouled out of the game with two minutes to play. Stevenson had eight points on 1-of-6 shooting.
West Virginia struggled with guarding the paint, once again, on Wednesday. Cyclones scored 28 points in the paint.
WVU F Tre Mitchell struggled last Saturday against Oklahoma, recording just four points on four shots. The Texas transfer didn’t hold back against Iowa State, hitting 3-three’s out of the gate in the first half. Mitchell slowed down by the second frame
Sophomores Seth Wilson and James Okonkwo came right off the bench in the first half giving quality production. Wilson nailed a three-pointer to give WVU an early nine-point lead. Okonkwo gave Iowa State problems in the paint, recording nine rebounds and three blocks.
West Virginia will take a couple of days off until they travel to the lone star state for a two-game road trip against Texas and Baylor on Saturday and Monday, respectively. WVU will tipoff in Austin versus the Longhorns at noon on Saturday. The game will be on ESPN2.
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